What’s the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer—including melanoma? According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s sun exposure. Here are five ways it recommends to limit your skin’s contact with dangerous rays.
1. Seek shade
The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. As a general rule, if your shadow is shorter than you are, find a shady spot.
2. Cover up
Long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses are good options for protecting your skin and eyes.
3. Slather on the sunscreen
Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30. Don’t forget to reapply approximately every two hours (even on cloudy days) and after swimming or sweating.
4. Be mindful of reflected light
Surfaces such as water, snow, and sand can reflect the sun’s rays and increase your chance of sunburn.
5. Skip the tanning bed
Whether it’s from the sun or a tanning bed, ultraviolet (UV) light can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. Opt for a sunless self-tanning product and sunscreen instead.